- Comcast’s MachineQ and Victor partnered to build an IoT mousetrap
- Extension of Victor’s work with consumer WiFi devices
- Uses the global LoRaWAN architecture
- No animals were harmed in the writing of this story
The smart mousetrap; who would have thought we would be applying IoT technology and network connectivity to mousetraps? Time to eliminate all thoughts of crazy Tom and Jerry antics with blocks of yellow cheese, as well as the inexplicably popular – ever since its launch in the 1960s – board game from Ideal (now Hasbro). Incidentally, I recall an extremely creepy version of Mouse Trap on children’s TV in the late 80s where kids would play inside a giant mousetrap set… if you suggest that idea today you would probably receive a swift visit from the police.
However, today’s mousetraps require some creative thinking. So step up Victor and take a bow. Victor Pest Control has been designing mousetraps since 1898, when it says it created the world’s first spring-based design – one of the most iconic designs of the last hundred years. Today, of course, we like to take a more humane approach with our pest control traps. Now we can receive a smartphone alert on our apps whenever a furry little friend ventures where it shouldn’t.
Victor has created VLINK, a platform that combines its latest rodent trap technology with the smarts of Comcast’s MachineQ IoT network. It takes what Victor learned from its consumer WiFi-enabled traps (with the obligatory accompanying app) and applies it to the business sector, responding to the need of professional pest controllers.
“For example, they’re putting traps in warehouses, food plants, on different floors, and more, so we needed something that was going to be long range,” explained Ashley Brown, Senior Category Development Manager at Victor. “Since we didn’t want to disrupt our clients by asking to use their WiFi, the shift to an IoT-focused solution wasn’t a hard decision for us.”
Through the MachineQ network, the sensors in the traps transmit data to a mobile dashboard in real time, enabling end users to be notified the moment a trap is triggered. Service teams get real-time notifications about which traps contain rodents. MachineQ is an IoT network service and platform from US service provider Comcast that uses LPWAN technology based on the LoRaWAN protocol to build and deploy solutions for businesses and municipal organisations – it was aimed initially at smart cities.
“As we continue to work towards developing the ultimate pest control solution, we see so many potential applications for new technology,” said Brown. “We’re already working with MachineQ and its partners to develop new products – this is just the beginning.”
Original Press Release:
How MachineQ and Victor Partnered to Build a Better Mousetrap
Jan 15, 2019: Since establishing the world’s first spring-based mouse trap in 1898, Victor Pest Control has dedicated itself to answering that question by understanding the real-life needs of its customers and creating solutions to address a variety of rodent control problems.
In line with its history of innovation, Victor recently announced the launch of VLINK, a new platform that combines cutting-edge rodent trap technology bolstered by the power of the MachineQ IoT network.
“We’ve had a ton of success on the retail side with electronic traps, and offer a consumer product that uses WiFi,” says Ashley Brown, Senior Category Development Manager at Victor, “but VLINK was our first foray into long range technology for professional businesses.”
At the start of the development process for what would become the VLINK system, Victor sent its engineers on ride-alongs with professional pest control operators. “We wanted to make sure we understood their challenges,” says Brown, “and found that there’s a great need to offer solutions that simplify their daily routines.
For example, they’re putting traps in warehouses, food plants, on different floors, and more, so we needed something that was going to be long range. Since we didn’t want to disrupt our clients by asking to use their WiFi, the shift to an IoT-focused solution wasn’t a hard decision for us.”
With support from MachineQ, Victor developed a trap equipped with sensors. Through the MachineQ network, the sensors transmit data to a mobile dashboard in real time, enabling end users to be notified the moment a trap is triggered.
A major benefit of VLINK is the efficiency it injects into the service process. For example, says Brown, consider pest control operators at food manufacturing centers. “Food manufacturers are highly regulated, and frequently audited to make sure they’re following the rules necessary to protect consumers,” says Brown. “That includes setting and monitoring rodent traps, sometimes quite a few of them. For someone to walk around and check all those traps on a regular basis takes a lot of time.”
With VLINK, that process is no longer necessary – service teams get real-time notifications about which traps contain rodents. “Only having to service those traps is huge, and having a comprehensive report to share with auditors is an added bonus,” says Brown.
Victor’s relationship with MachineQ has been a true partnership, helped by a shared passion for innovation. “There’s a lot of synergy between MachineQ’s goals and our goals,” says Brown. “MachineQ has really helped with the development of both the actual product and its app, supporting us through technical and hardware challenges to ensure a seamless user experience.”
In its limited time in market, VLINK has already proven to be an attractive solution for a variety of customers. “There’s a huge market for this technology, from both major companies and small businesses,” says Brown. “As we continue to work towards developing the ultimate pest control solution, we see so many potential applications for new technology. We’re already working with MachineQ and its partners to develop new products – this is just the beginning.”
What is MachineQ?
MachineQ is an IoT network service and platform that uses Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology based on the globally-adopted LoRaWAN™ protocol to build and deploy solutions for businesses and municipal organizations. Comcast first announced the service in October 2016 as a means to meet growing demand tied to IoT and smart cities. As a part of the machineQ service, Comcast is working with its commercial partners to enable businesses and cities to gather, transmit, and analyze data about the operation of connected devices distributed throughout their locations.
Stay up to date with the latest industry developments: sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox – including our daily news briefing and weekly wrap.